Heeding the call for help VZC team headed for rescue mission

Personnel from the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office and VZC Constable Pct. 4 office are headed south to the Port Arthur area to help with rescue, evacuation and search efforts for Hurricane Harvey victims.

A team comprised of VZCSO Chief Michael Bates, Lieutenant Heath Burton, Sgt. David Wheeler, Deputy Chuck Daugherty, Chief Deputy Constable Bob Keltner and Retired US Marshal John Lewandowski left Aug. 30 to “answer the call of assistance with search, rescue and evacuations.”

The officers participating all agreed with Chief Deputy Keltner’s statement, “they came to help us twice, now we are going to help them.”

The team took equipment to help aid in rescue efforts, including a boat and a MRAP military truck and headed down to Port Arthur, which was 100 miles east of Houston.

They also loaded up on supplies such as food, lifejackets, water and essentials needed for those who have lost everything due to the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey.

Keltner said that the MRAP, (Mine-Resistant, Ambush Protected) truck is a vehicle that can be used in many situations, but is also geared for highwater and can operate in floodwaters. The MRAP is able to hold 12 people at a time, making it a significant piece of equipment needed for the Hurricane Harvey disaster.

Before getting down to the disaster zone, the team stayed overnight in the city of Woodville, at a local gym. They team bedded down on the gym floor, before rising early Aug. 31 to proceed with search, rescue and evacuation procedures around the Port Arthur area.

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